Aigre Doux

December 05 2007 - 10:31 AM

Aigre Doux or Don’t. I say do. My girlfriends and I were seated at a table near the kitchen which gave us a chance to see the entire restaurant; the décor was nice but my friend said not much had changed from its days as Pili Pili. I did appreciate the very pretty arrangements of fresh flowers on all the tables.

One reason I enjoyed Aigre Doux is their assistance with the wine. We were a group of five planning on eating everything from fish to lamb and were wanting a wine other than Pinot Noir. I suggested a bottle but asked our waitress for assistance. She conferred with her counterparts and came back suggesting a more appropriate, lower price wine. How often does that happen?  We ordered multiple bottles.

Another reason is the food – everything and I do mean everything we
ordered had a perfect combination of flavors. We started with Parmesan
topped bread that would make any carb-avoider weaken. The chestnut soup
with pork belly was decadent – I could have licked the bowl; the
scallop sashimi (with hearts of palm and a passionfruit sauce on the
side) and ravioli with chanterelles and celery root, both fabulous.

For dinner I had the slow baked Alaskan salmon with farro risotto,
zucchini brunoise and a pomegranate sauce. The sauce was not tart at
all and went wonderfully with the salmon. I love farro. It is a great
grain, it’s not rice, and it was cooked perfectly. The Colorado rack of
lamb – excellent. The truffled grits, fennel and apple, fava bean salad
all paired wonderfully with it. The pan seared Loupe de Mer (sea bass)
was cooked wonderfully and served with herbed gnocchi in a ginger
emulsion – very, very tasty, especially for ginger lovers. We also had
the evening’s special, halibut with fingerling potatoes and swiss chard
– again a great ensemble of complimenting flavors.

Desserts were good – not out of this world but tasty. We had a melting
chocolate tart with cocoa nibs. It has a hard crust and warm, gooey

Ok, the only bad part of our experience was the timing of food
delivery. We waited almost an hour between appetizers and dinner being
served; after being requested by the waitress to put in both orders
together so they could time it better, huh? That didn’t work too well
for them.

Since our food must have been coming up at different times, some dishes
were cooked right and others were too cold or over-cooked. We actually
sent back the Venison for being over-cooked and received the Colorado
Rack of Lamb, which was cooked perfectly. The slow baked salmon, since
it is wrapped into a cylinder like shape, was good on the outside but a
bit underdone on the inside. My friend’s salmon was overdone all the
way through.

For me, this wasn’t really all that bad. I love long dinners, chatting
with friends and drinking tasty wine. I prefer to dine slowly ordering
my appetizers and then deciding what to have for my main meal.

And the staff did do a great job correcting the wrongs. Again the
Colorado rack of lamb was excellent and they didn’t charge us for it.
Plus we got a complimentary cookie plate because we waited a
while for our food, which consisted of homemade oreos (quite good),
marshmallows (not so great) and a few other tasty treats.The waitress,
waiters, and hostesses were all helpful and pleasant. It was just
timing and execution. The flavors are there. The presentation is there.
the service is there, the wine is there… but as my friend said “After
being open for a year, the processes of cooking and delivering hot food
should be well in-hand”.

It’s your call but I still say Aigre Do…

Aigre Doux
230 W. Kinzie